Network for Youth in Transition


In today’s world where peace is into everyone’s minds and heart, children contribution to the construction of peace is such an asset. Childhood is a period of life where reality and imagination both are connected in a vision of a better world, where empathy puts its foundation
The process of play is a powerful, multifaceted learning experience. Play is central to children's learning, and recently strongly identified with adults achievement and creativity. Play involves exploration, language experimentation, cognition, and the development of social skills. Play is a universal interdisciplinary process.
According to UNESCO, “the encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect—critical ingredients for building a culture of peace.”(We humans have not yet achieved our full creative potential, however, primarily because every child’s creativity is not properly nurtured”. The critical role of imagination, discovery and creativity in a child’s education is only beginning to come to light, and even within the educational community, many still do not appreciate or realize its vital importance
Children learn new vocabulary, communication skills. They learn music chanting clapping and making rhythmic exercises. They learn logical mathematical when they play with blocks, building constructions. Visual spatial skills are learned through art activities, visual matching, and making visual signs. Bodily-kinaesthetic learning is promoted through climbing, running, and playing sports. Personal and social intelligence happens through play, children become aware of their feelings, thoughts and emotions, try social roles, and use language for negotiation and problem solving.

Play and its contribution to adaptation, healing, resilience, risk-management, social wellbeing, deals with emotional literacy and learning issues. If deprivation from play occurs their possibilities for expression, enjoyment, creativity and happiness is limited but when the reverse occurs we see the importance of play to overcome difficulties in stressful environments and conflict affected war situations, trauma and others.

The role of play in emergency situations.

In emergency situations, the child survival has typically been the main focus of responses. We must be reminded that at the same time a child is struggling to survive, she is also struggling to develop. Therefore, we need to take a more comprehensive and integrated approach to the needs of young children especially during emergencies. We have to expand our emergency response to include tools that will meet the psychosocial needs of children--to reduce stress and anxiety, develop secure bonds with caring adults, build self-esteem and confidence and provide positive stimulation and learning opportunities

The creator of the WORLD PLAY DAY is Freda Kim, a devoted British Teacher and long-life advocator for children toys and play. On 28th May 1987 in Toronto the then committee of the International Toy Library CONFERENCE decided to form The International Toy Library Association. After the ITLA General Assembly in Japan in 1999 had agreed to having the WORLD PLAY DAY the actual date was set at a Board Meeting in 2001 in Florence as 28th May to commemorate the decision to form ITLA. It can therefore be said to be like the birthday of the International Toy library Association. (Personal Communication with Freda Kim)
I first met Freda in 2007 in Malaysia just after the World Forum in Kuala Lumpur, the ITA (International Toy Library Association) was having its yearly meeting and was invited to share the celebration and such a joy to meet Freda Kim, an outstanding advocator for children rights and specially the right to play. In 2009 when I was visiting Seoul she took me to visit Toy Libraries in the city, a great proposal the toy libraries were in many different settings but I was most impressed with the ones established near or within the metro station in which parents have the possibility to take home toys and suggestions on how to make them and information about the value of the games in order to stimulate certain development areas in the child.

According to Dr. Freda Kim, WORLD PLAY DAY should be a day of total attention to each other, from generation to generation. A day when children and adults do what they want to do. A day that is relaxed and emphasizes human interaction. We play in our own place, home, school or work place. Freda Kim explains …”perhaps I am describing an attitude rather than an activity". A day that is FUN shows adults and children in interactive situations promoting the healthy growth of each other in simple, self-motivated activities of their own choice. If everyone in the world can do this on the same day each year we will all be part of a WORLD PLAY DAY.

In our conversations Dr. Kim emphasized how important is to ask ourselves and to the community of adults dealing with children – how much time does each child spend in close contact with an adult who shows affection, shows intense interest in what he/she is doing and talks with him/her?

Currently research shows that a child spends more time watching TV or playing with machines than with human beings. We are living in an age of “information over load”. Information is meaningful when we know how to use and share it. If a child is unable to relate to other children or adult’s difficulties could arise .Basically, “on-line” experiences are no substitute for “off-line” experiences. If children communicate their ideas through language and play expressing dreams, feelings in human relationships, they will be having solid foundations in human development.

In 2011 Message Dr. Kim indicates: “…This year I want to stress how important play is for all the children who have experienced trauma around the world as a result of the many very tragic natural disasters and the man made wars which continue without end. It would be easy to put aside the simple activities of small children while dealing with the very pressing and immediate situations of food, housing and economics. However, while adults have understanding of these disasters and are able to verbalize, children need to act out the tragedy and deal with the trauma in their lives through play. It is fortunate that children can play without tools (or toys). Play can be alone, or with anyone who is around, child or adult.
While you are celebrating and perhaps singing the WPD Song in your centres, schools, hospitals, homes, workplaces or wherever you happen to be, please spare a thought for the very traumatized children all over the world who must be encouraged and allowed to play even in their devastating conditions. By allowing children to play you are helping them to a healthy adulthood.



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